Get your bacteria in order: why you should eat fermented foods
If you have heard about fermented foods, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘live cultures’, ‘lactobacillus,’ ‘probiotics’. But what do these terms mean? What are fermented foods and why should you be eating more of them in the first place? Let me help you…..
Fermentation is the breakdown of carbohydrates and carbohydrate-like substances by bacteria in either aerobic (air present) or anaerobic (no air present) environments. These types of bacteria are called probiotics, live microorganisms that are beneficial to your body and promote a healthy, well-functioning gut! The two most dominant and well known probiotic strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most common probiotic found in commercial fermented foods.
So what are fermented foods?
Fermented foods are a food product made from the breakdown of carbohydrates, made possible by a rich source of probiotic bacteria. Many of these foods contain complex carbohydrates as well as protein, fat and several health beneficial nutrients.
A lot of research has focused on fermented foods and their benefits on human health. Here are reasons why you should include more fermented foods in your diet:
· They improve overall gut health
· Reduce colon cancer risk
· Reduce the number of ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut
· Enhance your immune system
· Increase the amount of nutrients absorbs in the gut
· Help reduce foul smelling wind.
· Reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
· Help reduce the severity of allergies and external conditions such as eczema
· Help reduce the severity of diarrhoea caused by viruses, parasites or bacteria
· Help reduce bad cholesterol in your blood
· Promote intestinal pH balance, allowing healthy bacteria to thrive and overtake harmful microorganisms.
So what are some examples of fermented foods rich in probiotics? Good question!
1. Tempeh: naturally fermented soybeans, containing vegetarian protein and holding a nut-like flavour.
2. Yoghurt: Only those that declare to have ‘live and active cultures.’ E.g. Vaalia and Chobani
3. Sauerkraut: fermented from cabbage and salt, it is also high in fibre!
4. Miso: a fermented paste made from barley, rice and soybeans
5. Kefir: a fermented milk drink full of calcium and probiotics
There are clearly a lot of benefits to eating more fermented foods in your diet. Get your probiotics in order and help your gut function better. Your gut works hard for you, so it deserves it!